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CelebrateJohnMyhillEcumenism64

The benefits of churches working together

John Myhill’s stall at the recent Celebrate event at the Forum in Norwich sought help in promoting Ecumenism to help heal division in the church. He explains his approach here.

It is 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church, sparking the start of the Reformation. My stall at Celebrate was a response to this, and sought help in developing 95 theses of Ecumenism. Not being as clever as Luther, I have only managed to produce 34 theses so far, so I would be very happy for others who know that all Christians are of one church, to add to my list below:

Ecumenism…

  • … reverses the Reformation process of division into sects. 
  • … says NO to secularisation: It helps us to discover who we really are.
  • … allows all Christians to benefit from the success of new churches.
  • … goes beyond technical disputes about the Eucharist to the Real Presence.
  • … goes beyond technical disputes about Baptism to personal experience of the Holy Spirit.
  • … is made of Biblical Questions not dogmatic Answers.
  • … is seen in acts of shared compassion (Matthew 25).
  • … is translated into every language as at Pentecost (Act 2:6)
  • … grants indulgencies to all Christian sects but our own.
  • … shows Faith works and Works express faith.
  • … seeks the Eternal amidst the sectarian habits and fashions, separating wheats and tares at harvest (Matthew 13:24).
  • … seeks the patterns hidden by our daily routines.
  • … discovers the miraculous in the rational and the rational in the miraculous.
  • ... expects to find Truth in what was once seen as heresy, madness or error.
  • ... accepts that worship of idols (money, possessions, habits) is evil, but that Art that tells Bible   stories can help many to faith.
  • … speaks Truth to Power, fearlessly to enable them to surrender to the real power of God.
  • ... goes beyond toleration to seek to respond to the Holy Spirit in everyone.
  • ... does not tolerate the ignorance of Materialism, but preaches the Gospel, everywhere.
  • ... is Love uniting members of the One Church.
  • ... goes beyond the nostalgic desire to conserve the past.
  • ... is found in shared retreats in silence and the quiet life.
  • ... is found in praising God together and prayers for others.
  • ... is found in listening to the prophecies of others.
  • ... demands repentance for past acts of intolerance.
  • ... demands forgiveness of corruption and hypocrisy in others, having seen it in ourselves.
  • ... demands constant effort to see the tragedy in the lives of others and to ignore their thoughtlessness.
  • ... struggles with all human addictions (including preaching, anger, ritual, silence, temperance, chastity and obedience).
  • ... makes all people equal, by seeking in each person their own unique gift.
  • ... seeks to cast out devils/ madness in our own beliefs, NOT in the beliefs of other Christians.
  • ... seeks to share in the work of healing a mad world.
  • ... is found in frugality (but not in meanness), in hard work (not joyless drudgery), in enterprise (but not exploitation).
  • ... prevents the churches behaving like thoroughly nasty children, fighting over scarce converts.
  • ... enables churches to see their differences as providing the unchurched with thousands of different ways to discover God.
  • ... provides out highest understanding of God because it contains the wisdom of all Christians.

 
As long as thought exists so does this wisdom.
 

Please add your theses to the list by posting a comment below.

 

JohnMyhill450John Myhill is a Norwich Quaker, retired magistrate and author. His blog is at http://johnmyhill.wordpress.com/


The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norwich and Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users. 
 
We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted below, upon the ideas expressed here. 

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